With the Labor Day weekend upon us, it is good for us to reflect on the importance of our vocations. One of the things that can often get lost in the rig-a-ma-roll of church ministry is the need for pastors to equip people for facing their jobs with a Christian perspective and worldview. In other words, reflecting on the nature of work and the worship of God is not an ancillary enterprise, but a vitally necessary part of what the church can do for the world of business.
How do you view your job? How is work viewed in the Bible? How can you connect your faith and your work? Work itself is viewed positively throughout Scripture. It was part of the creation mandate (Genesis 2:15); it ought to be respected (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15); and, it is a service to God (Colossians 3:22-25). In other words, work itself is intrinsically good.
Our faith commitments and our workaday jobs are meant to be integrated into a seamless unity. They were never meant by God to be separate without one affecting the other. There are opportunities every day for Christians to live out their faith in the marketplace. Every job has its ethical challenges. Not only do we have choices to make about steering clear of shady deals, avoiding cooking the books, and staying away from dishonesty, but we have the opportunity to help create policies that provide well for others, guide others into responsible work habits, and foster positive relations throughout the organization.
Our jobs are also our mission fields. God has sovereignly placed us where we are for the purpose of expanding his mission. God desires to reach the lost, and he wants to use you to draw people to Jesus Christ. This can be done in a myriad of ways, from speaking openly about your own faith commitment, to showing sensitive hospitality, to living above the fray of any company cultural muck around you. Evangelism never has to be forced because we serve a God who has given his Spirit to do the kind of work that we cannot.
Finding meaning and purpose in our own jobs and vocations is a must in today’s society. Never has job satisfaction been so low throughout many American corporations and businesses. A big reason for this is the paucity of interpreting our work through a Christian world and life view. To see our particular vocations as a real calling from God, just like any calling that a pastor or missionary would have, is a must in today’s business environment. Without this view we simply flounder and live for the weekends with no connection to what God is doing and wants to do on the weekdays of work.
The work we do gives us the experience of personal transformation. If you have never thought the thought that your Christian sanctification can come through your work, then I just now put it in your head. Let it stay there and ruminate awhile. When we work with a team of people in a common purpose in community and fellowship, it has the ability to change us for the better. Learning new tasks, developing new relationships, and carving out new work disciplines helps foster personal change and brings fresh creativity to other spheres of life.
One of the things that churches can do to help employees and employers is to highlight people within their congregations who are doing good work. Feature such persons in a testimony about their work and what they do, or interview them so that others can see how God uses them on the job. We all need help with our vocations because there are continual challenges, frustrations, conflicts, and moral decisions which need to be made on every job, no matter what or where it is. It only makes sound spiritual sense for us to bring our jobs to the fore and give them the attention they need. Let’s all work from a Christian perspective so that the church is built up, the world is blessed, and God is glorified.